CHICAGO—The Obama Foundation and Chicago Public Schools today announced the winners of the first-ever civic action recognition awards, which recognize students, educators, schools, and partners who have made a powerful impact in their communities and beyond through civic engagement both inside and outside of the classroom. Chicago’s very own Keke Palmer will offer inspirational remarks to open the awards ceremony which brings together 300 attendees to honor finalists and winners. The multifaceted entertainer - actress, singer, host, author and philanthropist - will also congratulate and engage with the award winners during the ceremony.
This recognition is part of the Obama Foundation and Chicago Public Schools’ joint commitment to recognizing and uplifting young Chicagoans and the local organizations and people who are empowering them to make their voices heard and impacting their communities for the better. All winners will receive a Foundation-sponsored grant to support projects that will allow them to elevate their work and positively impact communities across the city of Chicago.
“We are proud to join Chicago Public Schools in honoring the exemplary civic engagement work that goes on every day in our schools and communities,” said the Obama Foundation’s Chief Engagement Officer Michael Strautmanis. “Our mission at the Obama Foundation is to inspire, empower, and connect people to change their world, and these students, educators, schools, and organizations are leading the way right here in our own backyard.”
“As part of our shared vision to empower the next generation of young leaders, this recognition honors the students, educators, schools and organizations who make a positive impact in their communities and beyond,” said CPS CEO Dr. Janice K. Jackson. “In partnership with the Obama Foundation, we are building upon Chicago’s rich history of civic activism and further establishing Chicago Public Schools as a national leader in civic education and engagement.”
Winners were selected in four categories that recognized leadership in civic engagement:
1. Students who lead impactful projects in their schools that foster civic learning and empower student voice2. Schools that model civic leadership by providing creative and powerful engagement opportunities for students3. Educators who go above and beyond to support the next generation of young leaders4. Community organizations that provide young people opportunities to become civically engaged
“These students, educators, and partners exemplify the goal of civics education by effecting change in their communities while empowering and inspiring others to do the same,” said CPS Chief Education Officer LaTanya D. McDade. “Every student in every neighborhood should have an outlet for their voices to be heard, and Chicago Public Schools is committed to building upon our focus on civic education to expand opportunities for our students.”
A committee comprised of civic leaders and education stakeholders selected an elementary school and high school winner for each of the three school-based categories and one community organization who provides opportunities for students across the city.
Award Winners:Youth Impact Award: This award recognizes student groups who have made a significant impact by addressing important issues in their classroom, school, or community. To be considered for this recognition, student groups had to demonstrate evidence of completing research, engaging community members, and formulating and implementing solutions.
Civic Culture and Commitment Award: This award recognizes schools that have made a commitment to building opportunities for students to have authentic and meaningful civic learning both in the classroom and throughout the school. These schools value students in their decision-making and policy development processes and infuse best practice civic education throughout students’ coursework.
Civic Education Leadership Award: This award honors educators who model civic leadership by creatively and powerfully providing opportunities for young people to engage actively in their community. These individuals stand out for their commitment to providing space, encouragement, and guidance for youth voice and leadership.
Community Partner Award: This award recognizes organizations that exemplify collaborative and meaningful partnership between schools and community organizations to empower student voice and civic engagement. These organizations honor youth voice and use their expertise to collaborate with youth to support high quality civic learning in schools and classrooms.
About Chicago Public Schools' Commitment to Civics Education:
Chicago Public Schools has partnered with educators and the non-profit and philanthropic communities to expand opportunities for young people to re-imagine and change their schools and communities through civics. The district outlined ambitious goals through its Ready to Engage three-year action plan to strengthen civics education and expand engagement opportunities for students across Chicago.
Chicago Public Schools serves 361,000 students in 644 schools. It is the nation's third-largest school district.
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